It is nice to be back in Jelsa for sure, and Easter is my favourite time of year, due to the wonderfully positive energy all over town with the Easter celebrations.
I am keen to catch up with as many people as I can in the ten days I am here, and it was kind of Jelsa Mayor Niksa Peronja to find time for a couple of cold ones yesterday, as well as answering a few questions I had.
It was a very open chat, but I am fully aware that there is a local election in five weeks, and not that I would expect any local to listen to a fat Brit when electing their mayor, and so I will not touch on a lot of the things mentioned during our chat here. But there are certain topics which people want to get more information on, which are in the public interest, particularly with the tourist season starting. I don't have any politics, I just like blogging with a pint in the sun, and I am very fond of Jelsa and would very much like to see an end to all the works of the last few years.
So, when will they end?
Followers of the blog will have seen my recent photo update of the works in Jelsa (click here for more), which gives an overview of how Jelsa is looking today.
So, some tourism related topics to update you on.
When will the diggers be finished (there are currently six on the waterfront)?
Final works are being applied to all the aspects of the waterfront, and all diggers should be gone by June 1 at the very latest. The new pier by the rowing club is all but finished, finishing touches are being applied to Copacabana beach which will be finished and ready for the season.
The full story of the collapsing riva is one I would like to write one day when I have done the proper research and spoken to all sides, but this too will be finished for the beginning of June.
The new Fountain Square was something I am particularly interested in, and I was surprised how much I liked it when I saw it. This is how it looks tonight (above), a marked improvement on how things were, and a much warmer welcome and first impression of Jelsa for guests arriving from the car park, especially as the Jelsa Tourist Board is now located on that square.
Several people told me that the fountain would not happen, as there was no money for the project. The mayor s very confident it will happen, and the funding (some 350,000 kuna has already been secured from a development fund). This being Croatia, the fountain needs a building permit, which is slowing things down. Once delivered, a 15-day tender will be the last obstacle to getting the works done.
I also heard various stories about the fate of the Studenac supermarket in the square, with one rumour being that the shop would be removed completely to make way for an open air market. According to the mayor, there are several options, which have not been finalised yet. What is certain is that the 15-year lease is coming to an end, and it will be extended until the end of the year. The options then are to sign a new longterm contract with the supermarket, to turn it into an open air market, or to open up one of the arches to give access to the summer cinema behind.
It all sounds positive, as one would expect from a politician a few weeks before an election, but if all that is delivered as stated, Jelsa should look forward to a great summer. How will the voters react to all the change in Jelsa? That will be decided on May 21.